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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – MARCH 25, 2022

Mar 25, 2022

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – MARCH 25, 2022

Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“As major economies pursue an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to replace Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures might create long-term fossil fuel dependence and close the window to 1.5 degrees…This is madness. Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.” 

— United Nations secretary general António Guterres explains why instead of replacing Russian oil, gas and coal, nations must pivot to clean energy.

“The students had that vision, they came forward with the demand and said, ‘This is the greatest health challenge of our time, we need to be learning about it.’”

Dr. Becca Philipsborn, speaking on Emory Medical School’s decision to make climate change a formal part of its curriculum after several years of student-led efforts to ensure future doctors learn how to recognize and treat the many health issues that are made worse by climate change.

Persevere. I would tell them to persevere.

— Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson giving advice when asked by Senator Padilla what she would say to all the young Americans “that make up the most diverse generation in our nation’s history” who may doubt they can one day achieve the same great heights that she has during her confirmation hearing. 

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JUDGE JACKSON’S SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION HEARINGS: On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began four days of hearings on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. 

OUR TAKE: Advocacy Director for Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “We need a Supreme Court Justice who will follow the law and uphold justice for all. The stakes for our rights to clean air and clean water, to vote and to be equal before the law, have never been higher. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s distinguished service on the federal bench and as a federal public defender demonstrate that she will be a Justice for the people, not just polluters and other special interests. Her own lived experience as a Black woman will add long overdue perspective and representation to the Court. Her record shows her to be a jurist of tremendous skill and integrity with a deep understanding of the impacts of rulings on some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and her resume shows that she is among the most qualified candidates ever nominated to the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson is the first Supreme Court nominee in over thirty years to have earned Senate confirmation on three prior occasions, all with bipartisan support. She is the right person for the job and we urge the Senate to confirm her without delay.”

ENVIRONMENTAL & CLIMATE COMMUNITY CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE CONFIRMATION OF KETANJI BROWN JACKSON TO SUPREME COURT: Following the Senate hearings on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court, 15 environmental and climate advocacy groups including LCV jointly called for the Senate to confirm Judge Jackson to this post without delay. Read the joint statement HERE.

HIGHLIGHT THE IMPORTANCE OF COURTS TO OUR ENVIRONMENT: This week, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) and Earthjustice began a five-figure digital educational campaign to emphasize the importance of the courts for the environment in the District of Columbia and across twelve states: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. The video ads are running as pre-roll and through connected TV. 

OUR TAKE: LCVEF Advocacy Director for Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “The stakes for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet have never been higher, but environmental laws are only as strong as the judges who uphold them. Pollution can cause asthma, heart disease, or even cancer. No one is above the law, and when corporations break the law to put profits over people, we need judges willing to hold them accountable.” To view the ad “Judges: Our Planet is in Their Court”, click HERE, and read our press release HERE.

ON U.S. SUPREME COURT’S UNPRECEDENTED INTERVENTION ON WISCONSIN REDISTRICTING: LCV issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s intervention in Wisconsin’s legislative maps.

OUR TAKE: Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa said, “The Supreme Court’s unprecedented shadow-docket intervention in Wisconsin’s state legislative map is alarming but not surprising. We’ve known that fair representation has been at risk since last summer’s Brnovich vs DNC decision, which weakened the effectiveness of core protections in the foundational Voting Rights Act of 1965. With dozens of similar lawsuits making their way through the courts, this decision once again underscores the urgent need for Congress to pass the critical voter protections found in the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. In order to have a strong democracy, we need legislative maps that equitably represent our historically underrepresented communities, and courts that put democracy before ideological agendas.” For the press release, click HERE.

SEC CLIMATE RISK DISCLOSURE RULE: On Monday, LCV responded to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule on climate risk disclosure.

OUR TAKE: Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “Shareholders deserve to understand and be protected from the increasing climate-related risks of the companies they are investing in, and today’s reasonable proposal from the SEC is a good step towards better transparency and standardization. We’re glad to see the SEC meeting its mandate to protect investors and ensure well-functioning markets by taking climate risks seriously. Importantly, uniform climate risk disclosures will level the playing field and limit companies’ ability to greenwash and make unsubstantiated emissions reduction pledges. We look forward to submitting comments in support of the strongest possible rule during the public comment period.”

ON THE PASSING OF MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: LCV Board Chair and former EPA administrator Carol M. Browner issued a statement on the passing of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

HER TAKE: “Madeleine Albright was many things: a trailblazer, a glass ceiling smasher, a brilliant foreign policy mind, and an exemplary diplomat who fought tirelessly for democracy. Secretary Albright was a champion for the environment – under her leadership, the State Department released its first ever environmental diplomacy report. She was also a wonderful mother, grandmother and mentor to hundreds of women across the globe who adored her and drew from her strength to succeed in their own right. Most importantly, she was a good friend. Always there when times were tough, always with a wry comment to cut the tension, and always there to support me. Her story is a true American story — an immigrant who worked her way to the top of her field to become an advisor to presidents and the nation’s first female top diplomat. The world will miss her fiery spirit.”

NATIVE AMERICAN VOTING RIGHTS: While voting rights legislation remains stalled in the Senate, the White House took positive steps this week to promote access to voting for Native Americans, who have historically faced unique and unnecessary barriers to casting their ballots. In this week’s update to President Biden’s Executive Order to Promote Access to Voting, LCV was especially glad to see the postal service recommendation to expand service in Native communities, the recommendation about federal agencies on tribal lands receiving NVRA designation, and the many actions across agencies to expand the franchise, including OPM guidance on administrative leave for voting and non-partisan election activities. As President Biden reiterated, it is past time for Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

GAS PROJECT DEFEATED IN VA: Last week, a planned gas-fired power plant in Charles City County, Virginia was officially canceled a month after the company behind the project, Chickahominy Power, suspended construction of the pipeline intended to service the power plant. In December, the electric grid operator terminated its contract with Chickahominy Power due to failure by the company to meet construction deadlines. Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied an appeal by Chickahominy Power and upheld the grid operator’s decision, prompting the company to pause the pipeline. The final abandonment of the power plant means the end of the  Chickahominy gas project after 6 years of successful grassroots opposition by groups including Virginia LCV.

LAST COAL PLANTS TO CLOSE IN NJ: On Wednesday, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved a petition filed by the Atlantic City Electric Company that will close the state’s 2 coal-fired power plants by May 31 and end the use of coal generation in New Jersey, further advancing the state’s clean energy goals. The utility estimates that closing down the plants will save customers as much as $30 million. To learn more, click HERE

CA GETS FAILING GRADE ON CLIMATE ACTION: On Thursday, California Environmental Voters CEO Mary Creasman published an op-ed after CA EnviroVoters gave California its first “D” grade for inaction on the climate crisis in their 2021 environmental scorecard. Creasman calls out California lawmakers for accepting campaign contributions from corporate polluters that spend millions of dollars to block climate action. Since 2018, 63% of California state legislators have accepted money from the oil industry. Creasman then lays out some of the most important opportunities for bold climate action in California this year.

CA ENVIROVOTERS TAKE: Mary Creasman wrote, “We must drastically reduce our emissions, clean up toxic air quality, transition our buildings and cars to clean energy, and make our communities and landscapes more resilient. We’re at the beginning of a new legislative session, and we will all be watching to see how our elected officials respond. Will 2022 bring climate leadership in California again?”

NY IS NATION’S TOP COMMUNITY SOLAR MARKET: On Tuesday, NY Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York has become the top community solar market in the United States, with enough community solar installed and operational to serve 209,000 homes across the state. The announcement demonstrates important progress toward meeting New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to generate 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

NYLCV TAKE: President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “Congratulations to New York and the solar industry for leading on community solar! Community solar is helping combat climate change and accelerate the growth of renewable energy to meet our ambitious climate targets. If New York is going to meet those clean energy goals, we need to prioritize solar and provide families with an opportunity to use green energy and prioritize those investments in disadvantaged communities. With New York top in the nation for total community solar installs and overall installs in 2021, we are supercharging our power supply- putting us on track to go bigger with renewable solar energy.” Read others’ responses HERE.

ADVOCATES WANT MORE FUNDING FOR NYC PARKS: On Tuesday, elected officials rallied with advocate groups of the Play Fair Coalition urging the NYC City Council to allocate 1% of the budget to the city Parks Department. The Play Fair Coalition was co-founded by the New York League of Conservation Voters and is made up of over 400 groups and organizations that advocate for parks and open space in NYC. 

NYLCV TAKE: Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said “Parks are vital environmental assets to New York City and we must treat them that way by allocating 1 percent funding to the NYC Parks Department. Without this proper funding, these vital resources fall into disarray, which negatively impacts all New Yorkers. Our parks and open spaces mitigate climate change, promote resiliency, lower air temperatures by up to 9 degrees, and remove 1,300 tons of pollutants from the atmosphere each year. It is time for Mayor Adams and the City Council to provide historic investment in our parks and open spaces across the five boroughs.” Click HERE for more.

CA ENVIROVOTERS LAUNCH #CLIMATECOURAGEBUDGET CAMPAIGN: This week, California Environmental Voters launched an ad campaign urging the governor and state legislators to allocate increased funding to climate action in the state budget. The campaign includes digital ads and a billboard on I-5 near Sacramento International Airport. EnviroVoters is specifically calling on state leaders to dedicate a minimum of 5% of state spending – at least $75 billion – over the span of the next five years to pay for investments in clean energy, zero-emission transportation, building decarbonization, water and wildfire resilience, jobs and justice.

ENVIROVOTERS TAKE: California Environmental Voters Political and Organizing Director Mike Young said, “Climate spending must match the scale of the threat we face from unchecked climate change in order to be effective. Only a massive investment can overcome the destruction we face from record drought, record wildfires, and record heat waves. California has the know-how, and our huge budget surplus gives us the resources to unleash it. We just need leaders with the courage to stand up to corporate polluters profiting from the climate crisis.” For the statement, click HERE.

MARYLANDERS AGREE ON IMPACTS CLIMATE CHANGE: A new poll shows that the majority of Marylanders believe that climate change is causing major impacts such as more extreme weather events, and reflects concern for climate change consequences across demographics and the political spectrum. Maryland LCV executive director Kim Coble was quoted in an article by the Baltimore Sun about the polling results.

MDLCV TAKE: Maryland LCV executive director Kim Coble said, “So many people have personal stories or connections to loved ones affected by extreme storms or wildfires, for example. The poll results suggest more education is needed to help more people understand the urgency of dealing with climate change.”

PROTECT PUBLIC LAND IN NV AND BEYOND: On Sunday, Nevada Conservation League and Education Fund communications director Angelyn Tabalba published an op-ed about the importance of public lands for tourism, recreation, habitat preservation and cultural history and urged federal leaders to prioritize public lands. Tabalba highlighted Nevadans widespread support for protecting public lands from fossil fuel drilling and praised the state’s federal delegation for their leadership on oil and gas leasing reform. 

NCL TAKE: Angelyn Tabalba wrote, “Nevadans value public land and understand their vital role in fighting climate change, protecting wildlife and boosting our economy. Its protection is as important as ever, as natural resources continue to be degraded by climate-fueled weather events such as wildfires, drought and extreme heat waves. We need our federal leaders to prioritize reform for public land use regulations to emphasize protection and conservation of our public lands to respect the needs and values of our communities.”

CO WANTS BOLD CLIMATE ACTION: On Monday, CEO of Conservation Colorado, Kelly Nordini, published an op-ed calling for state leaders to pass an ambitious clean air and conservation agenda this legislative session. Nordini highlights consequences of pollution in Colorado and emphasizes the importance of strong policies that clean up the state’s transportation, industrial sector, fossil fuel sector, and the environment. 

CONSERVATION CO TAKE: Conservation Colorado CEO Kelly Nordini wrote, “No state can solve climate change or geopolitics alone, but Colorado plays a critical leadership role on the national stage, where other states and the federal government have a history of following our lead. I urge our leaders to act to cut costs and pollution and build security and stability.”

GROUPS PETITION FOR CLEAN TRUCKS RULE IN CO: A coalition of environmental groups and local governments – including Conservation Colorado – filed a formal petition with Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission requesting the adoption of an Advanced Clean Trucks rule by the end of this year. This would require an increasing percentage of zero-emission medium- and heavy- duty vehicles in the state. The petition aims to reverse a decision by Gov. Jared Polis’ administration last month to push back the key climate rulemaking until at least 2023. Six states have already adopted the rules and many more are considering the rules or are in the process of adopting them. 

CA ANNOUNCES CONGRESSIONAL ENDORSEMENTS: This week, California Environmental Voters announced their endorsements for 34 incumbents for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives. You can see CA EnviroVoters’ other endorsements for 2022 HERE

OUR TAKE:  LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “It has never been more important to have leaders in Congress who are fighting for the transformative  climate action to invest in clean energy, create good-paying jobs, and advance environmental justice that we need. This is especially true in a state like California where communities know all too well the devastating consequences of inaction on the climate crises and prioritizing corporate polluters and profits over people. Speaker Pelosi and the other members we are endorsing today have all been strong advocates for climate action and environmental justice in Congress and are thrilled to support their campaigns for re-election so they can continue to fight for our democracy, clean energy, justice and jobs.”

ENVIROVOTERS TAKE: Mike Young, Political & Organizing Director of California Environmental Voters, said, “The path to maintaining an environmental majority in Congress runs through California. Our State is witnessing deadly and costly wildfires, unreliable water sources with an ongoing drought, increasingly hotter years, unhealthy pollution levels, and degrading biodiversity and ecosystems. California has the most competitive seats right now, and it is important our representatives continue to lead the nation in pushing for climate justice. These incumbent leaders for Congress have demonstrated that they are fighting for climate action and the champions who will protect California’s health and precious resources for generations to come.” View the full press release HERE.

PITA JUAREZ RECOGNIZED AS NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER: Pita Juarez, Chispa’s National Communications and Creative Strategies Director, was recognized on the 2022 Grist 50 list. Grist releases an annual list highlighting emerging environmental leaders – as Grist calls them, “Fixers” – across the country who are helping to shape the future of our planet. Pita was chosen for this award due to her work as a filmmaker and storyteller shaping a new climate narrative centered on the leadership and experiences of communities of color. Learn about Grist 50 HERE, and see Chispa’s congratulatory post HERE

PITA TAKE: Chispa National Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez said, “I think for people like me and like my community, we start getting involved in these movements because it’s personal. I wanted to connect all of our issues as low-income, working-class people of color – that it was all connected to climate…I see film as such a powerful tool, because we can really listen to people and I don’t think that we’re doing enough of that today.”

CHISPA AZ PHOENIX CLIMATE STRIKE: On Friday March 25th, Chispa Arizona collaborated with the Arizona Youth Climate Coalition to host a climate strike at the Arizona Capitol. Activists demanded that state Senators protect the Oak Flat – an area within the Tonto National Forest that is sacred to local Indigenous communities – and reduce subsidies for plastic and fossil fuels. View Chispa Arizona’s post about the strike HERE

ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS BILL PASSES MD HOUSE: The Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation to establish an electric school bus pilot program and the bill is now headed to the state Senate. This is a priority for Maryland LCV and the focus of Chispa Maryland’s Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign. View Chispa MD’s announcement HERE

MOMS ORGANIZING FOR ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES: On Monday, Route Fifty published an article about efforts to advance electric school buses and the impacts of diesel air pollution on children, specifically highlighting the activism of mothers. The article features  Chispa Arizona and the successful grassroots advocacy of the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign.  . 

CHISPA AZ TAKE: Dulce Juarez, co-director of Chispa AZ, said, “Moms are organizing to protect their children’s health and their well being…It really is going to take us holding political leaders accountable for updating our infrastructure and updating our local transportation fleet. We have to do what we can to protect the lives of our children and future generations.”

CHISPA TX JOINS GROUPS AGAINST NATURAL GAS: Chispa Texas joined a group of organizations representing Gulf Coast communities to release a statement condemning the Biden Administration’s plans to increase production and exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union. The Gulf of Mexico region is the natural gas hub in the US and communities face high levels of air pollution and health impacts caused by the industry.

CHISPA TX TAKE: Chispa TX program director Elida Castillo said, “Our thoughts are with those in Ukraine and Europe who are facing humanitarian and energy crises, but we cannot disregard the crises our communities are facing every day. The Biden Administration cannot promise to reduce greenhouse gasses while increasing the fracking and production of LNG…President Biden has a commitment to protect the environment, act on environmental justice, and be energy independent. This should mean finding alternatives to fossil fuels and stopping the greenwashing efforts such as carbon capture storage and hydrogen. There is an open invitation for President Biden or representatives from his administration to visit our communities. In the meantime, we hope he acts on our demands for environmental justice, and for European leaders to listen to affected people instead of the lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry.”

IN THE FIELD: Across the nation, communities are demanding climate action now. LCV’s field team has knocked on nearly 530,000 doors and has activated over 31,500 people to advocate for critical climate legislation. Nearly 25,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action too. 

COMING UP:

ALL OF MARCH – Women’s History Month

MARCH 27: Chispa AZ Community Clean Up 

MARCH 30: Chispa’s Electric School Buses: Stories From the Field Webinar. 

MARCH 30: Chispa AZ Women’s History Month Facebook Live

APRIL 9: 4th annual Seacoast Environmental Film Festival